This Article 
 Bibliographic References 
 Add to: 
Constraint Analysis: A Design Process for Specifying Operations on Objects
December 1990 (vol. 2 no. 4)
pp. 391-400

A design process for an object-oriented database design environment, known as constraint analysis, is presented. Given the increased level of semantics associated with an object-oriented database schema, constraint analysis makes use of semantics expressed as database constraints to support the flexible specification of propagation actions for operations on objects. Constraints are formally represented using Horn logic. The constraint analysis process then reasons about constraints at design time to help the designer understand the effects of constraints on object manipulation, identifying possible constraint violations as well as design alternatives for handling violations. An advantage of constraint analysis is that both inherent and explicit schema constraints are included in the analysis process. A formal representation is given that supports the analysis of constraints and the automatic identification of design alternatives for responding to constraint violations.

[1] S. Abiteboul and R. Hull, "IFO: A formal semantic database model," TR-84-304, Comput. Sci. Dep., Univ. of Southern California, Apr. 1984.
[2] S. Abiteboul and R. Hull, "Update propagation in the IFO database model," inProc. Int. Conf. Foundations Data Org., Kyoto, May 1985, pp. 243-251.
[3] R. Balzer, N. Goldman, and B. Neches, "Specification-based computing environments for information management," inProc. Int. Conf. Data Eng., Los Angeles, CA, Apr. 1984, pp. 454-458.
[4] T. Bloom and S. B. Zdonik, "Issues in the design of object-oriented database programming languages," in [54], pp. 441-451.
[5] A. Borning, "Thinglab: A constraint-oriented simulation laboratory," SSL-79-3, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, July 1979.
[6] M. L. Brodie and D. Ridianovic, "On the design and specification of database transactions," inOn Conceptual Modelling: Perspectives From Artificial Intelligence, Databases, and Programming Languages, M. Brodie, J. Mylopoulos, and J. Schmidt, Eds. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1984, pp. 277-306.
[7] M. L. Brodie and D. Ridianovic,A Strict Database Transaction Design Methodology, Computer Corp. of America, Tech. Rep., Apr. 1984.
[8] S. Chakravarthy, "Rule management and evaluation: An active DBMS perspective,"SIGMOD REC., Special Issue on Rule Management and Processing in Expert Database Systems, vol. 18, no. 3, Sept. 1989.
[9] Database Eng., Special Issue on Object-Oriented Systems, vol. 8, no. 4, Dec. 1985.
[10] U. Dayal, "Active database management systems," inProc. Third Int. Conf. Data Knowledge Bases, Jerusalem, June 1988.
[11] M. Desiderio, "CONTEXT: A CONstrainT EXplanation Tool," M.S. thesis, Elect. Comput. Eng. Dep., Univ. of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, Spring 1990.
[12] K. Dittrich and U. Dayal, eds.,Proc. 1986 Int'l. Workshop on Object-Oriented Data-base Sys., Computer Society Press, Sept. 1986.
[13] K. Dittrich, Ed.,Advances in Object-Oriented Database Systems, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 334. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1988.
[14] H. C. Du and S. Ghanta, "A framework for efficient IC/VLSI CAD databases," inProc. Third Int. Conf. Data Eng., Los Angeles, CA, Feb. 1986.
[15] S. Greenspan, "Requirements modeling: a knowledge representation approach to software requirements definition Ph.D. thesis," Computer Res. Group, Univ. Toronto, Mar. 1984.
[16] M. Hammer and D. J. McLead, "Database description with SDM: a semantic database model,"ACM Trans. Database Syst., pp. 351-386, Sept. 1981.
[17] M. Hecht and L. Kerschberg, "Update semantics for the functional data model," DB Res. Rep. no. 4, Bell Labs., Jan. 1981.
[18] R. King and D. McLeod, "A unified model and methodology for conceptual database design," inOn Conceptual Modelling: Perspectives From Artificial Intelligence, Databases, and Programming Languages, M. Brodie, J. Mylopoulos, and J. Schmidt, Eds. New York: Springer-Verlag; 1984.
[19] G. M. E. Lafue and R. G. Smith, "Implementation of a semantic integrity manager with a knowledge representation system," inProc. First Int. Conf. Expert Database Syst., Kiawah, Oct. 1984, pp. 333-350.
[20] B. L. Lim, "The enforcement of object-centered constraints," Ph.D. dissertation, The Center For Advanced Computer Studies, Univ. of Southwestern Louisiana, in progress.
[21] L. Mark and N. Roussopoulos, "The new database architecture framework--A progress report," inInformation Systems: Theoretical and Formal Aspects, A. Sernadas, J. Bubenko, and A. Olive, Eds. New York: North-Holland, 1985, pp. 3-18.
[22] L. Mark and N. Roussopoulos, "Meta-data management,"Computer, vol. 19, no. 12, Dec. 1986.
[23] M. Morgenstern, "Active databases as a paradigm for enhanced computing environments," inProc. VLDB, Florence, 1983, pp. 34-42.
[24] M. Morgenstern, "Constraint equations: declarative expression of constraints with automatic enforcement," inProc. 10th Int. Conf. on Very Large Data Bases, Aug. 1984, pp. 291-300.
[25] M. Morgenstern, "The role of constraints in database, expert systems, and knowledge representation," inProc. 1st Int. Conf. Expert Database Syst., Kiawah Isl., SC, Oct. 1984, pp. 207-223.
[26] J. Mylopoulos,et al., "A language facility for designing database intensive applications,"ACM Trans. Database Syst., vol. 5, no. 2, June 1980.
[27] J. M. Nicolas and K. Yazdanian, "Integrity checking in deductive databases," inLogic and Databases, H. Gallaire and J. Minker, Eds. New York: Plenum, 1978, pp. 325-344.
[28] N. Roussopoulos and L. Mark, "A framework for self-describing and self-documenting database systems," inProc. NBS Trends Appl. Conf., 1984, pp. 107-116.
[29] A. Shepherd and L. Kerschberg, "PRISM: A knowledge-based system for semantic integrity specification and enforcement in database systems," inProc. ACM SIGMOD Conf., Boston, MA, June 1984, pp. 307-315.
[30] A. Shepherd and L. Kerschberg, "Constraint management in expert database systems," inProc. First Int. Conf. Expert Database Syst., Kiawah, Oct. 1984, pp. 302-332.
[31] D. Shipman, "The functional model and the data language daplex,"ACM Trans. Database Syst., vol. 6, no. 1, Mar. 1981.
[32] M. Stefik, "Planning with constraints (MOLGEN: Part 1),"Artif. Intell., vol. 16, pp. 111-140, 1981.
[33] D. Stemple, S. Mazumdar, and T. Sheard, "On the mode and meaning of feedback to transaction designers,"ACM SIGMOD, pp. 374-386, 1987.
[34] S. D. Urban and L. M. L. Delcambre, "Perspectives of a semantic schema," inProc. Int. Conf. Data Eng., Los Angeles, CA, Feb. 1987, pp. 485-492.
[35] S. D. Urban, "Constraint analysis for the design of semantic data-base update operations," Ph.D. dissertation, Univ. of Southwestern Louisiana, Sept. 1987.
[36] S. D. Urban and L. M. L. Delcambre, "Constraint analysis: A tool for explaining the semantics of complex objects," inProc. Second Int. Workshop Object-Oriented Database Syst., Bad Munster, Germany, Sept. 1988.
[37] S. D. Urban and L. M. L. Delcambre, "Constraint analysis for specifying perspectives of class objects," inProc. 5th Int. Conf. on Data Eng., Feb. 1989, pp. 10-17.
[38] S. D. Urban, "ALICE: an assertion language for integrity constraint expression," in Proc. Comput. Software and Appl. Conf., Sept. 1989.

Index Terms:
design process; design process; object-oriented database design environment; constraint analysis; semantics; object-oriented database schema; database constraints; flexible specification; propagation actions; Horn logic; object manipulation; constraint violations; design alternatives; explicit schema constraints; formal representation; automatic identification; formal logic; formal specification; object-oriented databases; object-oriented programming
S.D. Urban, L.M.L. Delcambre, "Constraint Analysis: A Design Process for Specifying Operations on Objects," IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 391-400, Dec. 1990, doi:10.1109/69.63251
Usage of this product signifies your acceptance of the Terms of Use.